We've left the job in Iraq undone ~ all to meet a deadline. Just today two U.S. soldiers were shot by an Iraqi. An Iraqi soldier no less. The very people those left behind are to be training. He paid with his own life. The U.S. casualties were not the first since the withdrawal.
We have fifty thousand still deployed. They go on patrols with the Iraqis, they carry weapons and they are just as much at risk. How can it be said that combat is over? The Iraqi army is obviously not yet able to assume responsibility for their own security. That's why we're still there.
Somehow I think combat will not be over for our soldiers until every last one of them is out of the country. To claim that it is seems a disservice to them.
I wonder how those looking ahead to deployment as "instructors" feel. I wonder how their families feel, knowing that their loved ones are not going merely to train the Iraqis but to continue to protect them. They will be at even more risk as violence escalates as it seems to be doing. It was not unexpected.
The big difference between now and before the troop withdrawal is that our soldiers have no one to watch their backs.
No, combat is not over.
The President may think it's time to turn the page and focus on domestic issues but it's it's a long time until the end of 2011 when everyone is due out. How many more deaths will those troops suffer? I can't imagine anyone accepting the claim that combat is over.